So, I recently started a new job at a church and through the normal ‘getting to know you’ type stuff, the topic of “why are you a vegan?” obviously comes up a lot. Usually during meals. This made me really focus on my “vegan elevator speech” or whatever you want to call it. Basically, a one or two sentence statement that qualifies or explains the reasons why you do what you do. Mine goes something like this:
God gave man dominion over the animals. Animals are one of God’s creatures that we are to love and respect. I do not want to support an industry that tortures and mistreats animals.
There, that’s pretty much a light summary of what I believe. Of course this is usually followed up by one or two notorious questions:
“So if you don’t eat meat, how do you get protein?”
“So I can understand not wanting to kill an animal, but what about cheese and eggs? Nothing dies for those.”
This is good reinforcement for you as to why you believe in being vegan and also can be used as a chance to spark conversation with people who would never think to consider where their food comes from. Also, for new vegans, this might serve as something to hold on to so that when confronted, you have something to say that will, hopefully, knock their socks off.
So here is my question for you guys:
What is /your/ vegan elevator speech? and what are the most common follow up questions?
Let’s pretend for a moment that meat was an absolute necessity for human survival. Shouldn’t we, as the superior beings that we are, uniquely capable of imagination, speech, art and ethics do our utmost to ensure that animals live a good and comfortable life and die in a nanosecond without any chance of feeling any pain?
Now, since we do not need meat to survive, and in fact are healthier without it, then shouldn’t treating animals with such disregard and killing them so callously be considered a doubly barbaric act?
Until we are collectively able to use our intelligence to care about the well-being of all others and stop thinking solely about ourselves and our superiority, it doesn’t matter whether we’ve been to the moon, built pyramids or iPhones – we’re still no better than beasts.
Below is an edited text from books by Peter Singer.
We don’t usually think of what we eat as a matter of ethics. Stealing, lying, hurting people – these acts are obviously relevant to our moral character. So too, most people would say, is our involvement in community activities, our generosity to others in need, and especially our sex life. But eating – an activity that is even more essential than sex, and in which everyone participates – is generally seen quite differently. Continue reading
- I ask you questions that you might not have asked yourself before.
- I tell you about my own experience being a vegetarian.
- I lay out all the good AND all the bad things about it.
- I present you with a challenge.
I genuinely hope to see you on the green side! ;-) Continue reading
I am an atheist and am completely against religion. But I have found in Buddhism 5 moral precepts that before even finding them I already lived by.
- To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms)
- To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft)
- To refrain from sensual (sexual) misconduct (not committing rape, etc)
- To refrain from lying (speaking truth always)
- To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (specifically, drugs and alcohol)
Number 1 on that list is the one thing that over 95% of the world don’t do. Their morals stop with no hurting humans as if they were somehow more capable of feeling pain and more deserving of being respected.
So the main reason the world doesn’t get better because most of us don’t believe we can make a difference. It’s like we’re all passing the buck and expecting others to do it for us.
- Save energy? meh, why bother, I won’t make a difference! I like my halogen light bulbs too much.
- Not buy from companies who use sweatshops? Nah, they sell millions already how will me not buying make any difference?
- Buy Fair Trade? These people live miserable lives anyway, how will 20p more change anything?
- Become a vegetarian? The animals die anyway, millions of them – it’s not me who’ll make it stop.
The problem of course is that when most people think that, indeed the difference made is not as big as it could be, exactly because of that. But difference is still made! The more people realise that each and every one of us does make a tiny % of difference, the more we’ll see the world change. It’s simple maths really!
And the process is also viral of course. You change your lifestyle > your friends see you do it > you talk about it > they change their lifestyle > and the message gets passed on. Slowly but surely the world will become a better place!
In the words of the amazing Gandhi: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. And I very much live by that.
So, do your part! In whatever cause that’s dear to you! I guarantee you will sleep much better at night with clear conscience that you are doing the right thing instead of “passing the buck”.
There are 7 very simple reasons that I am a vegetarian.
- UNESSENTIAL: WE DON’T NEED MEAT TO SURVIVE
Humans don’t need meat to survive and live a healthy life. They eat it because it tastes good. That alone is not a good enough reason to put animals through suffering.
- HYPOCRISY: YOU COULDN’T KILL, GUT AND CHOP IT YOURSELF
Most people don’t like the sight of an animal being killed, let alone could they do it themselves. Eating them is therefore hypocrisy.
- COMPASSION: ANIMALS FEEL PAIN AND FEAR TOO
Farm animals feel pain just like us and just like your pets. Electrocuting/cutting their throats is barbaric and inhumane. Farm animals are treated like a product and not like sentient beings that they are. They are fed hormones, are beaten and thrown about and live in confined spaces with complete disregard for their well-being.“Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to yourself”.
- COWARDICE: LIKE BABIES, ANIMALS DON’T HAVE A VOICE TO FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS
Slavery was once legal. Women once didn’t have right to vote. Gays don’t have the right to marry in some places. But they all have a voice to fight for their rights. Animals can’t beg for their lives or freedom but that is not enough reason that they should be stripped from those rights. In the same way that killing an innocent and voiceless baby is the most horrific act of violence, so is killing and mistreating an animal.
- HEALTH: VEGETARIANS ARE HEALTHIER
Vegetarians live longer and have 40% to 70% less chance of getting cancer and other diseases than meat eaters.
- ENVIRONMENT: ANIMAL FARMING IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Half the rainforests in the world have been cleared for grazing; methane from livestock causes global warming; soil is eroded by cattle; slurry poisons waterways; and the seas are laid to waste by overfishing. The global appetite for meat and the industrial techniques of the meat industry are destroying the Earth. Farming contributes to 18% of all greenhouse gases produced by humans. That’s more than all forms of transport put together.
- HUNGER: GRAIN THAT’S BEING FED TO ANIMALS COULD GO TO STARVING PEOPLE
While 750 million people go to bed hungry every night, one-third of the world’s grain is fed to farmed animals. A typical Western meat-based diet can only feed 2.5 billion people: a plant-based diet will feed every one of us.
If you want more reasons follow these links:
As a vegetarian I get asked many questions and statements… here are a few common ones and the answer to them.
- Why are you a vegetarian?
Because as any human being I do not need meat to survive and I disagree with making an animal be treated like a product and then be murdered just because it tastes good.
- What if the animal died by accident, would you eat it?
No, the thought of eating a carcass disgusts me no matter how it died. Of course, if someone puts a gun in my head and tells me to choose between eating an animal that died accidentally and one that was murdered I would choose the one that died accidentally – but by choice I still wouldn’t eat it – I don’t NEED it and that’s the point.
- But other animals eat meat too, you can’t make a lion into a vegetarian.
For starters, we’re not lions. Lions don’t have a conscience nor a choice, they have large sharp teeth, they eat meat raw, from an early age they display hunting instincts; put a human baby next to a rabbit and check if it kills and eats it like a lion cub would. If you force feed lions with a diet of potatoes and vegetables they won’t be able to eat it nor will they live very long because they were made to be carnivores. Lions also defecate in front of each other and kill the cubs that were not fathered by them – should you do that too?
I am currently reading an amazing book called ANIMAL LIBERTATION – I think this is a must read for anyone who cares about animals and also to those who don’t but are willing to have their views debated.
It is written by a guy called Peter Singer who I now idolize. He writes so well and explains things in such a way that it is impossible to argue with him. Apparently most people who read this book turn vegetarians if they are not.
A passage of the book, quotes Jeremy Bentham when writing at the time when black slaves had been freed by the French but the British dominations were still being treated in the way we now treat animals.
The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withheld from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to caprice of a tomertor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month, old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, “can they reason?” nor “can they talk?” but, “can they suffer?”
Will leave you with that thought.